Cracking Down On Illegal Lineups in 2017


Fundamentally disagree that there is no edge. 1) If you have 90 players (which is only one scenario here) it creates a mess for teams dealing with arb for you. Yes, 60-70 of those guys are probably easily ignored, but I still have to sort through 90 players to deal with arb for your team. This increases the likelihood that players sneak through/bad choices get made. 2) some of those random prospects are the guys who are going to break out in winter leagues or pop up on a couple top 100 lists unexpectedly and see their value increase. If you want to make a smart bet on a handful of guys with solid A-ball numbers and hope that, within your 40+60 day DL slots roster spots you hit it big, that is totally fine. but sitting on 90 guys gives an out-sized shot to hit on one of those guys. 3) the more common scenario I see is bidding up the few reasonable pieces still out there (for example, across my leagues, in the last week, Stanton, Heyward, Yordano, Felix, Upton and others were all cut) and sitting at maybe only 4-5 guys but $40-$50 over the cap. All those extra players can be used in trades, etc.

On top of this, even if the advantage is small, there is a bit of a tragedy of the commons thing here. Sure, having 11 rosters at 40-45 players and one at 90 is not the worst, but the incentive is now for every owner to do that, which means come 10/15, when arb starts, there are now 1000 players owned across each league, instead of 480-500. That is a huge difference. and it will make the off-season suck. I have no interest in dealing with a roster that big, combing through rosters for arb/trade talks, or getting an offer like, “I’ll trade you X for Y and I’ll even throw in any 20 of these 40 shitty players that should not be owned but are.”

In season, there is already a penalty - being unable to make trades, claim players, or bid in auctions is a real problem. But come the last day of the season, I can put in my bids and claims, sit back and suffer no penalties, then go into the off-season with a painfully overloaded roster. that is not right.


I gotta say, I kind of disagree with you. All 12 teams are welcome to do the same. This is not an edge one team has over the others. All 12 teams have the same capacity to add a few guys they seem they want to see develop over the winter and see if they move up the ladder on the prospect lists - which by the way, are not out until after 1/31…so the point that you can sneak up on and grab a player’s whose stock is on the rise before the rest of the league is a bit moot. You are gambling on a guy you like. It’s going to cost you an extra buck to add him at the beginning of October because of arbitration. If you add x amount of those players that’s x amount of dollars you are adding to your finances. That in itself should be enough of a penalty.

If you as an owner, don’t know which are the players you want to arb in all of your opponents teams by the end of the season, that’s on you. If you are fooled by somebody adding extra single A guys that won’t be up for years to come, that doesn’t mean that owner is smart for stocking up, that means whoever is arbitrating his top players is not on point…You want to arb the people who actually score points, anyway.

Also, there’s a whole month for arbitration. It’s not like it’s a 3 hour window and you can miss adding dollars to a guy because that roster has too many players.

  1. I definitely do not know who I want to arb at this point. I don’t have time during the season to track every other roster in my leagues and know who is paid what and what they will be worth next year, etc. So I spend time during arb sorting through rosters. I have zero interest in going through a roster with 90 players. It’s not that I can’t figure out who is in A-ball and who isn’t. It’s that I have to do it. And it is asinine to have that situation exist.

  2. you still have not addressed the more common case which is teams going only a few players over but doing so by grabbing actual talent that is on the wire, which they can then use to trade.

  3. the fact that everyone can do it is not a reason to allow it. by that token, every one could just allow themselves to go over the limits during the season, too, which invalidates the need for your proposal to stop scoring points after 72 hours. In fact, if we stopped requiring both owners to agree to a trade, sure, then I could just take whoever I want off your roster, but you could do the same to me, so that would be fine, too, right? Everyone being able to do something that runs counter to the spirit of the game and the rules does not make that a good thing.

the only time you can legally go over the roster limits is via trade in the off-season, before 1/31. Any other situation in which you go over the limit should come with a penalty that is stiff enough to ensure that it is a bad decision.


Good luck with that.


This is really the primary issue.


good luck with what? getting a new rule in place? Niv has been pretty active in this thread and seems committed to making that change for next year. I am enforcing that rule for all my leagues this year.


Thanks for the feedback and thoughts, but now people are just repeating conversations and arguments from earlier in the thread. Make sure to read through everything, a lot of these points have been made 2-3 times each now.

Closing for now.


We have never been saying it’s an edge one team has over others. Yes! All teams are welcome to do this! What I am saying is that all 12 teams should not be able to do this.

When teams can add 50 extra players on the last day (see above) the issue is “gambling on a guy you like.” You’re basically playing the lottery at that point. You just nominate as many guys as you can and hope one gains some form of helium before the cut deadline.

Prospect helium still exists prior to lists as many publications post teasers beforehand and give breakdowns of who they like or don’t like throughout the offseason. When the prospect you can pick up is relatively the same to the back end ones rostered, it’s relatively easy to include them as throw in types in trades too. Just more ammo for teams to use. (Think Kevin Newman, Yadier Alvarez, Alex Verdugo, Jake Bauers.) These are all prospects that could be picked up in some leagues to go over the player cap. Those players have roughly the same value as Dylan Cozens, who is rostered in the same leagues.


Continuing the inexplicably closed discussion about “illegal rosters”…

What we’re talking about are players who haven’t been bothered to be owned in September. How much value do they really have going forward? Best case scenario if I do this strategy is I get some previously unowned prospect for $1. A few days later he’s $2. $2 for a player no one wanted to pay $1 to a day before! This type of player is likely a cut come 1/31. But there might be an owner out there who thinks that player is worth $2 now. That player is trade bait.

Most of the time though, other teams can block deals like this. Put a $5 bid in for every prospect auctioned on the last day of the season, win them all, and then cut them all to deprive your opponent of a $1 guy. There are such easy strategies that owners can use to block this approach, it’s just a matter of those other owners considering it and doing it.

I’ve done this for the second season in a row now. I’ve gone to about 60 players as of the last day of the season. I think I’ve been able to flip maybe one (?) of these guys in any off-season trade. It’s an extreme edge case attempt at an advantage that rarely pays off and doesn’t hurt any other team that pays attention.

I can’t say I’m sympathetic to the argument that this strategy complicates arbitration. You may not know exactly who you want to throw dollars at, but there’s very little chance that someone being auctioned on 30 September is worth arb dollars. This just isn’t a valuable player. And, the vast majority of times this strategy is used, the roster in question has 60 or fewer players. This isn’t a burden. Even the notional 90 player roster shouldn’t be too difficult to cull through in about 30 seconds.

And just an aside, Niv, I’m not sure how this conversation can be “closed” since we seem to still be debating this issue. The idea of closing a conversation is another reason people are skeptical of leaving Slack for something that has overmanagement of speech. I’m here because I see some of the super-users here are trying to fix a problem that isn’t broken and want to weigh in but if we’re discussing it we should be able to actually talk it out.


On Niv’s behalf, I think this is closed because a) he has made a decision that he thinks this needs to be remedied and b) he has the info he needs to start to think through a solution, removing the need for further debate.

Second, across my four leagues, here are players added over the last week or so:
Justin Upton
Felix Hernandez
Giancarlo Stanton
Anthony DeSclafini
Kennys Vargas
Derek Dietrich
Francisco Liriano
Carson Fulmer
Wily Peralta
Archie Bradley
Michael Wacha
Jorge Alfaro
Matt Shoemaker
Garrett Richards
Steven Wright
Yordano Ventura
Asdrubal Cabrera
Jharel Cotton
Carlos Gomez

Not all of those guys are stars, but none of them are “previously unowned prospects” and most cost much more than $1.

As for the idea that you can block everyone…sure, but if I plan to keep my roster legal, i have to have room to take on a $5 bid on each of those guys (or a $40-$50 bid on STanton or a $30 bid on Upton or whatever) and then the cap penalty for the cut, which most teams can’t do at this point in the year. Plus, once I make my roster legal by cutting those guys, another team can make a waiver claim to add them. So what you are arguing for is forcing every owner in every league to have an illegal roster.


Chad, based on your list of players, I think we’re talking about two separate issues. We’re also talking about two separate timelines.

You have some legitimate big leaguers and stars who were probably cut because they weren’t worth their contracts and owners wanted to get a jump on rebuilding. That’s fine. If someone wants to make their roster illegal on 15 September to pick up Stanton or Upton and don’t have any way of getting under the cap and are making no effort to do so for the last 2 weeks of the season, I can see how that could be a problem. Those owners should work to put their team in a legal state.

What I’ve seen (and done) though, is auction guys like Carson Fulmer, Vlad Jr., Richard Urena, Richard Shaffer, and it’s happening within 72 hours of the end of the season. A roster with extra guys like this that goes into the off-season with 50+ players rostered isn’t against the spirit of the game, it’s echoing how MLB functions. September call-ups are an opportunity to see the future and see if those players have value. Almost all of the time these players are cuts, especially when their salaries increase and the $5 Fulmer turns into a $7 Fulmer.

I just don’t see that there’s a problem on this latter scenario that needs fixing and dislike that the game creator would close discussion and move to make changes to something that ain’t broken.


That doesn’t reflect MLB at all actually. You’re acquiring real assets because you’re willing to break the rules before the season ends because there are no consequences. If I could rob a liquor store because I knew I could get away with a small amount of money and not get caught by the cops, I still wouldn’t because I’m not a dick. If you don’t think it’s an exploit then you’re lying to yourself.

EDIT: I never agree with Chad, so I’m thinking there is something to this.


Everyone else has the ability to bid on these same assets. It’s not one owner stealing anything. There is a cap in-season and there is not a cap in the off-season. What we’re talking about are auctions that are started in-season and finish in the off-season or very close to it. People are getting worked up about teams being over a cap that doesn’t exist as of the end of the season. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

In another league of mine, a fellow owner blocked my bids on about 10 guys and now owns those players at unreasonably high/definite cut prices. So my strategy didn’t work there. But it’s a strategy that requires other owners to play the game to the last day of the season, something I think we should encourage.


Nah this isn’t a cap issue it’s a roster spot issue. You’re intentionally violating rules to gain assets that you’ll try and trade this offseason by exploiting a gap in the seasons calendar. It’s cool because it’s not expressly forbidden but you should at least own it.


It’s totally fine if you’ve been grabbing players end of season, but ottoneu Fantasy Baseball would be better off if people couldn’t just spam auctions on the last day of the season. It undermines the market principles of the game.

Closing this thread as well.

EDIT: I messaged @k_lof as to why I closed this thread and the previous one, but just to be clear: all these arguments in this thread were already hashed out in the previous thread. The reason we have threads and not a temporal chat room is so people’s responses can be archived and referenced, so please read through the thread and only respond if you’re making a point no one else has considered yet, etc. Furthermore, this thread and the previous one are bordering on uncivil, and that’s not acceptable to me. Make your arguments, but please keep the histrionic language, personal insults, unnecessary sarcasm etc to a minimum.


Merged in the old topic, reopened in case anyone feels there is more to add here.

For context- I lean towards wanting to make a change, though I haven’t figured out exactly what that change is yet. I won’t surprise anyone with a change, it’ll be vetted through the community first, but I’m leaning strongly in that direction now.


I’m not worried about the max player in the offseason limit so much as the $400 cap. It seems like enforcing teams to cut under the $400 cap at some point before trading starts can have a lot of benefits. Then afterward the cap can be removed for the rest of the offseason until the cut deadlone. One of the big competitive balance problems is when people immediately sell off star players in April for what normally is an extremely light return that is terrible for the seller. After the star players are used all year, theyre pawned off in the offseason, often for a better return than what the buyer originally paid. It’s like an endless circle, and the weak owners end up essentially ruining the league by giving a few teams a serious advantage from year to year. Right now theres absolutely no downside to buying early. It also forces most overpriced or rental players into the auction pool, which is great for competitive balance, and prevents extreme inflation and deflation.


To be clear, I think what most of us are arguing for is not cutting down to $400, per se, but to where you legally need to be as of the last day of the year (so $400+incoming loans-outgoing loans-cap penalties). Sounds like you are arguing for something more stringent, a la @ahix24 earlier in the thread. Here was my reply to that.


Agree with @chy924 that the $400 isn’t an issue at all. The current off season salary rules work just fine. Everyone knows loans essentially drop off and everything is “corrected” by the official keeper deadline.

To offer an idea on the roster cap:

Why not change the entire roster cap (in season and off season) to be a hard maximum of 45 total players, where the in season code is 40 + 5 60 DL, and the off season math is just 45 (since DL is irrelevant).

Again, just an idea, but that should solve the issue of mass auctions at the end of the season, would ensure the same rule is always applied consistently, and should be pretty simple to implement.


It may be ok the way it is, but why should the teams at the top who have $500-$700 in salary before arbitration, and a large amount of the most desirable players who are normally on reasonable salaries, be able to instantly restock their team in the off season while the bottom teams who sold off players have $100-250 in salary and less desirable players?